Ariana Grande – Focus

I’ll start this blog with the song that’s been on repeat for the last few days on my Spotify. Gotta admit I wasn’t very keen on it at first: structurally this song is trying to be Problem‘s successor, with the same buildup ending on G#5 (hey, is Ariana trying to claim that note for herself?) followed by an uncredited guest that drops the hook line. And here’s my first problem: WHAT’S UP WITH JAMIE FOXX?!? Who thought that drawn out “focus oooon me” was a good idea? Turns out that the song gets redeemed for this misstep halfway through, when Ariana in a quite k-pop move announces “1, 2, 3, come on girls” and lets awesome brass take centre stage. Man, that’s the true hook of the song. Apparently I’m able to close an eye to those cringy shouts and enjoy the aforementioned hook, Ariana generally having a good time more than in Problem and the tasteful trancey pads in the buildup. About those, though, I wished they would keep on following the vocal line closely even after the first four notes instead of just going in autopilot. Chord progressions tracking the main melody are cool, you know? Another thing I’m not too sure about is the cowbell-y groove, but the song works regardless so yeah. It’s probably more a problem of reminding me of another song that’s charting lately and that I don’t love very much… but that’s for the next post.

…turns out Max Martin produced this. This explains everything.